House speaker: Republicans will consider banning gender-affirming surgery for kids

DES MOINES — Iowa House Speaker Pat Grassley says House Republicans are considering legislation to restrict gender-affirming medical care for transgender kids and teens.

Grassley spoke with reporters Thursday shortly before the House Government Oversight Committee held a hearing to ask questions of doctors who provide gender-affirming care. Grassley said he wants to see the results of the hearing.

“We’ve wanted to make sure that we’re giving opportunity for people to come in and express why they would be doing what they’re doing, give our opportunity for legislators to weigh in, ask questions,” Grassley says. “And then if we want to develop policy based on that, we’ve done our diligence to make sure we’re prepared.”

During the hearing, the co-director of the LGBTQ-plus clinic at University of Iowa Hospitals Katie Imborek said care for transgender minors follows guidelines from leading medical institutions and is done under the supervision of a team of medical professionals, and always with parental consent.

She was asked how her patients would be affected if there were laws preventing treatment, Imborek says she feels there could be devastating consequences. “Some of them have, have been able to really do wonderful things like, go back to school feel, feel like they can look in the mirror, feel like they can take a shower, feel like they finally are validating who they really are,” Imborek says.

Advocates for LGBTQ Iowans point out that gender-affirming care is supported by all major American medical organizations. They say restricting such care would be dangerous because it would exacerbate the mental health crisis among Iowa’s transgender youth.